Internal Medicine training at North Devon District Hospital
Local curriculum and training delivery - medical rotations
Internal Medicine Trainees (IMTs) working in Barnstaple will spend their IMT1 and IMT2 years undertaking 4 month placements at North Devon District Hospital (NDDH). The postholder will have the opportunity to work in the following Medicine core subspecialties: Geriatric Medicine, Cardiology, Respiratory Medicine, General Medicine, Gastroenterology and Medical Admissions Unit. During one 4 month block, each IMT will be seconded for 3 months to Intensive Care Medicine (ICM) and will spend the remaining 1 month back within a Medicine subspecialty, undertaking Medical Outpatient clinics, Medicine oncalls, ward work as well as experiencing 1 week of shadowing the Palliative Care team. During their secondment to ICM, IMTs will undertake oncall working for ICM, as a supernumerary member of the ICM oncall team. In IMT year 3, the postholder will undertake 6 month posts in two of the aforementioned Medicine core subspecialties at NDDH.
During their time in Medicine at NDDH, IMTs will receive the benefit of 2-hour teaching sessions in general on a weekly basis (due to Covid, these sessions may be delivered in a remote/video conferencing manner). Trainees are expected to attend at least 50 hours of such training per year, which takes into account expected absence due to being rostered on night duty or on leave. These sessions are almost exclusively Consultant-led, as being a small close-knit Physician group, the Consultant Physicians deliver most of the teaching themselves. These sessions may include teaching delivered by Emergency Department and Intensive Care Medicine staff, as relevant to Medicine trainees. IMTs are also encouraged to attend the weekly Medicine Grand Round hourly teaching sessions which take place every Wednesday lunchtime, although this has paused during Covid. Simulation (SIM) training of the practical procedures listed in the Internal Medicine stage 1 curriculum is provided as part of the scheduled teaching sessions which take place over the course of the year at NDDH.
Local curriculum and training delivery - outpatient clinic experience
Whilst undertaking the Medicine core subspecialty posts, IMTs will be encouraged to regularly attend Outpatient clinics. They may choose to attend clinics from within these core subspecialty areas, as well as Endocrine and Rheumatology clinics provided by NDDH Consultants, or partake in Visiting subspecialty clinics provided by Consultant Neurologists, Haematologists and Oncologists from Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. Since Covid, the majority of clinics in Medicine have become telephone/video consultations, although the Medical Admissions Unit Ambulatory clinic is a face-to-face clinic with patients.
North Devon offers the combination of a friendly place to work and live. The small hospital community means that you quickly get to know people in most departments and professions. It also facilitates a close relationship with our Consultant body. The Hospital Mess has recently been relocated back inside the main hospital and benefits from brand-new refurbished premises and furniture. The Mess committee organise a summer and winter ball every year in addition to the typical monthly pay day social events. There has been variety to the types of activity organised e.g. board game nights, a trip to our local escape rooms, as well as more traditional activities.
The local area is rich in opportunity and beauty. Being close to both the coast and the moor enables the area to offer a range of outdoor activity. The proximity of both to the hospital enables you to be in either your wetsuit or your walking boots as soon as you have finished work and thus making the most of the good weather and landscape. Most people opt to live within close proximity to the hospital, either in Barnstaple town or in the surrounding area. Over the last few years there have been several new housing developments within walking distance of the hospital, the most popular of which is Westaway Heights. It is almost on hospital grounds and you only have to cross the road to go from home to work.
North Devon is rural yet with easy access to the rest of the UK via the A361 link road. Exeter is easily commutable in approximately an hour and Plymouth can be reached in an hour and thirty minutes. There is a train station in Barnstaple town that links to Exeter, for access to the national rail network. Alternatively, Tiverton Parkway rail station is less than an hour away, accessible via the A361. The area is also fortunate to be between both Exeter and Bristol Airports.
North Devon is rich in sporting opportunities, ranging from surfing, climbing (both in and outdoor), windsurfing, hiking, kayaking and coasteering. The area also has a well-established netball league and the hospital Mess funds training for football and racket sports. However, the area is also rich in non-sporting activities too. Close to the hospital are the Broomhill Sculpture Gardens which offer a charming walk around a local garden littered with artistic sculptures. Barnstaple Pannier Market hosts regular food markets with special events over the Christmas period. You are also close to Dartmoor, Cornwall and Somerset if keen to explore further field. Not to be missed is Lundy Island – just off the coast of North Devon – it offers lots of opportunities for climbers, divers and lovers of nature. It is accessible by boat from either Ilfracombe or Bideford and offers accommodation if interested.
The area also offers a wide variety of food and restaurants from traditional British pubs with exceptional food, to more exotic Independent Thai, French, Indian and Chinese restaurants. There are also several local food vans such as Calaca Loca – a Mexican street food pop up. If you are looking for something more upmarket then Kentisbury Grange is just past the hospital and offers Michelin star food from Michael Caines.
In Summary, North Devon offers the opportunity to achieve a good work-life balance that we all strive for.